After the fall 1966 release of the all-new Camaro, GM enthusiasts no longer found themselves on the outside looking in. For the first time in two very long years, the Ford Mustang FINALLY had itself some serious competition, and the pony car wars had officially begun.
History records that practically overnight the Camaro became a runaway bestseller, challenging Mustang for supremacy on the showroom floor, city streets, and racetracks all across the country. In fact, in just one short year Camaro took the 1968 SCCA Manufacturers World Championship (the forerunner of what is known today as Trans Am) away from Ford and never looked back.
Four decades later, First-Generation Camaros command a king's ransom with collectors, and that's particularly true with the RS, SS, Z28, and COPO models. Even the most humble examples of these cars are selling for anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 a pop, making a ground-up restoration a pricey proposition. That's EXACTLY the reason Dynacorn Classic Bodies, Inc. introduced their new Replacement Body Shells for the '69 Camaro coupe and convertible and '67-68 Camaro coupe, said Jim Christina, Dynacorn Classic Bodies vice president and general manager.
"First of all, our Dynacorn Classic Bodies '69 coupe and convertible and our soon-to-be-released '67-68 coupes are not actually considered a 'replica' Camaro body. They are officially licensed under General Motors as a 'replacement part,' " he said. "In fact, we DO NOT recommend nor do we even say any place in our advertising that you can build yourself a "new" car from the ground up. This is basically a re-body, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper to do it this way than spending $10,000 on a stressed-out piece of junk."In order to accomplish this monumental feat, it was first necessary for the Channel Islands, California, manufacturer to purchase a pair of '67-68 and '69 Camaros.
"In 2002, we bought up two models of each body style. We immediately dismantled them and started from there," Christina said. "However, while these donor Camaros provided the rudimentary blueprints for Dynacorn Classic Bodies technicians to follow, it was painfully obvious that there needed to be some fine-tuning.
"Unfortunately, due to their age, the sheetmetal panels and inner structures on these cars were stressed out to the point that we really couldn't build good jigs off them," Christina said. "They merely provided us with the basic blueprint to follow. What was required was the development of a whole new state-of-the-art jigging process co-developed by Dynacorn Classic Bodies, Inc. and Golden Trust (Dynacorn's stamping firm), which guaranteed an absolutely perfect replacement body shell inside and out."
All told, some 350 sheetmetal body panels had to be faithfully replicated, then grouped into approximately 35 body component subassemblies. Then these subassemblies were jig-welded into an actual body structure by one of two licensed Dynacorn Classic Bodies, Inc. dealers throughout the country. On the West Coast, you have Sal Perez's San Bernardino, California-based American Muscle Cars, Inc. On the East Coast, you have Jim Barber's Belews Creek, North Carolina-based Classic Automotive Restoration Specialists.
"We use 1006 automotive grade universal steel in the assembly of these bodies," Christina said. "In some cases, like the floorpan, the material is about .0002 inches thicker than the original. Each body is also sealed and primed with a EDPM black auto body coating prior to actually being crated for shipment."
Since these body shells are exact replicas of either a '67, '68, or '69 Camaro coupe or convertible, you can use the doors, trunk lid, hood, front clip, subframe, and running gear from your donor vehicle and have yourself a brand-new car!
"All the hard work has already been done. You can even order your new Dynacorn Camaro Replacement Body Shell with or without the factory air-conditioning provision and heater delete," Christina said. For $13,500 (with new doors and deck lid included), the Camaro enthusiast can go where no Camaro enthusiast has ever gone before, he added.
"We're really excited about this project," American Muscle Cars President Sal Perez said. "With the higher-grade materials and new technology being invested into this project, Dynacorn Classic Bodies are as good as, if not better than the originals."
Perez also related that American Muscle Cars, Inc. will be more than happy to build roller versions of either the Dynacorn Classic Bodies '67-68 body or '69 body styles, complete with front and rear frame clips and a rearend for about $32,000 FOB.
Recently, CAMARO PERFORMERS Magazine was able to sit in on the start-to-finish buildup of Dynacorn Classic Bodies, Inc.'s 1967 Camaro show car being assembled at Sal Perez's shop. The actual buildup of this pre-production prototype will also be covered in segments by the popular cable TV show Chop Cut Rebuild starring cable TV personality Dan Woods.
Participants in this project include Chris Alston Chassisworks, Inc, Classic Industries, Currie Enterprises, Glide Engineering seats, Doug Thorley Headers, Dynamax, GM Performance Parts, ididit, Keisler, Oasis Wheels, Painless Performance Products, Inc, Wanda's Upholstery, Wilwood Engineering, Sony, Year One, and Zoops. In charge of this project is Brent Maxwell. Once completed, the Dynacorn Gem 1967 Camaro show car will make its grand debut at Hot August Nights '07.